“We are Church.” As self-referential as the Curia.

You might think it takes a peculiar sort of mind to find common themes uniting an interview with Antonin Scalia and an exhortation from Pope Francis, and you'd be right. My piece at First Things this week brings these two divertingly counter-cultural men together on the subject of narcissism and idols:After his election to the papacy, notes were released outlining the pre-conclave intervention delivered by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, which many of the Cardinal-electors said impressed them … [Read more...]

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Francis Confounds the Associated Press

Via Matthew Schmitz' twitter feed, where he notes a sense of "disorientation."I can just hear the mainstream secular press.WAIT! WHAT? I thought we had a read on this guy! He was gonna shut up about abortion, already! Next day he's telling doctors not to perform them, and sayin' each aborted kid has the face of Christ? WHAT? That's like the WORST THING HE COULD SAY when people are actually listening!This feels like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the Football! It's almost like he's … [Read more...]

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Are we making an idol of the pope who warns against them? UPDATED

I can't think of modern pope who has so explicitly, and so frequently, warned us against the creation of idols; he mentioned idolatry early-and-often in his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, and has exhorted against succumbing to it so frequently that the joke around here is: he's in a mind meld with Scalia. And of course, the other joke is this:Even when the crowds cheer him at his audiences, Francis reminds them, "cheer for Jesus, not for me"And yet, as I write this morning in the … [Read more...]

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In your raving idolatry I find a bit of peace…

Last night, I logged off fairly early and missed a big donnybrook on Facebook that had to do with people angry at me because of this piece from yesterday. Lots of namecalling and screaming in my direction, mostly because I dared to find anything worthwhile in Obama's speech, even as I identified it as a cynical move to divert attention away from his awful presidency.Apparently my near-constant criticisms of the man since 2007 were insufficient bona fides to allow me one instance of (mild) … [Read more...]

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Putting Away the Labels to Hear/See Each Other

Under it's new editor, Matt Malone, S.J., America Magazine is doing a very good thing:America aspires to nothing more than to live up to the fullest meaning of our motto, to pursue the truth in love, for as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written,“The only strength with which Christianity can make its influence felt publicly is ultimately the strength of its intrinsic truth.” The fundamental truth of Christianity is personal, the person of Jesus Christ, the one for whom love and for … [Read more...]

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Wherein K-Lo Wonders if I am Committing Sacrilege

She looks so sweet, doesn't she? Smart, and nice and soft-spoken. And I've met Kathryn Lopez and she really is all of those things, plus she is a completely down-to-earth, authentic sort who would "give you the shirt off her back", as the saying goes, if she can help you out.So, when someone like this says, "how about I interview you, regarding your book" you think, "well, this will be lovely; a piece of cake! I'll have a gentle afternoon burnishing my ego and tra-la-ing my way through the … [Read more...]

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The Mystery of God’s Own Timing

Yesterday morning my email and twitter feeds were busy with people laughing and saying "he did it again! It's downright spooky!" while sending me this link to Pope Francis' homily, which contained many important themes but was particular heavy on the subject of idolatry:‘The Lord is the only God, there is no other’, but then live as if He was not the only God and have other deities at our disposal...There is a danger of ‘ idolatry: idolatry, which is brought to us through the spirit of the w … [Read more...]

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Strange Gods Now on Kindle and my Sally Field Moment

Color me very grateful for the interest in Strange Gods and I have felt a little helpless when emails and social media messages asked when the book would be out on Kindle. The answer, finally, as of right now!I'm also grateful to folks who have been very kind in their assessments of the book, although I do have to admit that Terry Nelson from Abbey-Roads blog -- one of my favorite blogs, I don't link to enough -- gave me a start. I happened upon it this weekend and read: "At first I thought, … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis and I are in a Vulcan Mind Meld!

We've joked that our new Pontiff and I seem to be enjoying an unusual bit of synchonicity on the issue of idolatry. In his wonderful talks and homilies he touches frequently on the issue, enough so that Brandon Vogt -- the hardly sleeping and inventive Brandon Vogt -- took the time to create this amusing photoshop for me:Here's Pope Francis this morning:“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an e … [Read more...]

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Perhaps America Needs Peggy Olsen to Serve its Inner Don Draper

Photojournalists love to capture politicians with backlighting, or standing before round seals and symbols; it helps the subject to stand out, of course, and where presidents are concerned the dramatic halo effect might be making a sincere or ironic editorial point. I wonder if there is something subconscious about it, though; do we need to see our president regardless of party, as someone with a connection to the divine?Politicians are as susceptible to believing their own hype as anyone … [Read more...]

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